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WOMAN GETS 3 YEARS IN DAY CARE WELFARE SCAM

A former Buffalo woman Friday was ordered to spend the next one to three years in state prison and make full restitution for fraudulently receiving almost $30,000 in welfare payments.

Karen Newman, 32, formerly of Gold Street, had been indicted for submitting false names of the day care providers she claimed cared for her four children from January 2000 through the end of March 2002.

Prosecutor Lauren A. Gauthier said Newman hid the fact that her mother-in-law and husband were actually caring for her children while she held menial jobs, and that she and her mother-in-law were splitting the welfare payments for that day care work.

Newman surrendered to authorities two months ago in Starke, Fla., her hometown near Gainesville for the past two years. She was sent to jail Friday by State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns, who told her "this is not a 'no harm, no foul' situation."

She pleaded guilty Feb. 17 to felony welfare fraud. Before being taken away in handcuffs, a crying Newman was also ordered to sign a judgment obligating her to repay the $29,878.88 she still owes the Erie County Social Services Department. She has paid back about $100 so far.

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